CNN's Beck likened outrage against Tancredo to "re-education" policies of Soviet Union

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

On the December 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck said remarks by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) in a November 19 interview with right-wing website WorldNetDaily.com "liken[ing] Miami to a Third World country" have "touched off a wave of controversy" that allegedly resulted in "death threats" and the cancellation of a Tancredo speaking engagement in Florida. Beck reasoned that "you can disagree with Tancredo all you want. ... But threaten to assassinate someone because you don't like his point of view? That actually does sound something like you'd find in a Third World country." Then Beck drew a connection to "[p]olitical correctness," stating, "Political correctness has its roots in the old Soviet Union. ... [I]f someone was caught saying something that was out of line with Lenin's thinking, according to Trotsky, they'd be taken away for re-education until they were politically correct. That's where it came from. And that's exactly what's happening today in America."

Beck has himself ruminated on the possibility of assassinating a public figure. As Media Matters for America has noted, on the May 17 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Beck said he was "thinking about killing [filmmaker] Michael Moore" and pondered whether "I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it," before concluding: "No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?"

Further, as Colorado Media Matters noted, when Tancredo was asked to justify his claim that Miami was "a Third World country," Tancredo falsely claimed that Miami is the "murder capital of the world." In fact, FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data show that of the 20 most populous cities in the United States, nine -- Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Memphis, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, and Columbus, Ohio -- have a murder rate higher than Miami's:

20 most populous U.S. cities and Miami

Estimated population in 2004- 2005**

Murder and nonnegligent man- slaughter 2005

Murder and nonnegligent man- slaughter per 100,000 residents

Baltimore

641,097

269

41.96

Detroit

900,932

354

39.29

Philadelphia

1,472,915

377

25.60

Memphis

678,988

137

20.18

Dallas

1,230,303

202

16.42

Houston

2,045,732

334

16.33

Chicago

2,873,441

448

15.59

Phoenix

1,466,296

220

15.00

Columbus, OH

730,329

102

13.97

Miami*

388,295

54

13.91

Indianapolis

800,304

108

13.49

San Francisco

749,172

96

12.81

Los Angeles

3,871,077

489

12.63

Charlotte, NC

677,122

85

12.55

Jacksonville, FL

795,259

91

11.44

Fort Worth, TX

613,261

60

9.78

San Antonio

1,256,584

86

6.84

New York

8,143,197

539

6.62

San Diego

1,272,148

51

4.01

Austin, TX

693,019

26

3.75

San Jose, CA

910,528

26

2.86

* Miami ranks as the 45th largest city in the United States.

** City population estimates are from Table 8 on the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting website.

From the December 14 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Last month, Colorado Representative Tommy Tancredo touched off a wave of controversy when he likened Miami to a Third World country, mostly because of illegal immigration and a lack of assimilation. Tancredo was invited to speak at a Florida restaurant this past week, but his appearance was canceled when the restaurant allegedly began receiving death threats. That's right, death threats.

Now, you can disagree with Tancredo all you want. Engage in that robust debate that makes us quintessentially American. But threaten to assassinate someone because you don't like his point of view? That actually does sound something like you'd find in a Third World country.

Political correctness has its roots in the old Soviet Union. I don't know if you know this. Back then, in the beginning of the Soviet Union, if someone was caught saying something that was out of line with Lenin's thinking, according to Trotsky, they'd be taken away for re-education until they were politically correct. That's where it came from. And that's exactly what's happening today in America.

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